I spent the past week in Sweden and I had the opportunity to appear in Swedish Morning TV to talk about roller derby together with the president of Stockholm Roller Derby, Bess Irv Cold. The morning hostess borrowed a pair of bedazzled R3’s (courtesy of Jender Bender) and I was slightly surprised she did not fall on her face and seriously harm herself. Before we went on air I spent some time flirting with the band was featured in the morning show. Ah… life as a derby girl is so taxing sometimes, it was about 8 am, but it is never too early to impress.
The following day I got to guest coach Stockholm who mostly have very new skaters, but they are all so excited they are on skates and about roller derby. I got to blow the coaching whistle, boss them around and tell them a hundred times that they get extra credits for falling. (for some reason no one took this really serious, I WAS SERIOUS, falling IS good for you, it teaches you to get up real fast) The next day I took a train down to Malmö to visit the brand new league there.
Coming back to Sweden and see the girls working hard to find a place to skate, find gear, find someone to teach them the basic rules and even find enough girls to make up a team. And they do it all with smiles, giggles and beers in their hands make me remember why I loved derby from the first min. Those girls love derby for what derby is, they take every little piece of information and squeeze it, turn it upside down, jab at it, and ask more questions. They make derby their own, they love every little piece of what derby is and is becoming. They show up to practice in newly bought R3’s, in duct taped skates from the 70’s that someone found at a garage sale. Their pads are fresh out of boxes shipped from US or stolen/borrowed from a brother, sister or boyfriend. Everyone just trying figure out what derby is, how it is played, what to wear, what wheels that work in rented middle school gyms.
Sweden made me realize how blessed I am, that I am a part of a sport that women allover the world, not only US love and work so hard to get recognized. Derby makes me smile multiple times a day. And when it frustrates me, I just think of how much happiness it has brought me and all the friends I have made. Because Roller derby is something that is in your face, and I like to keep it there, with or without fishnets, it is what we all make it to be!